Grave Digger is widely considered one of a small number of German Power Metal bands including Helloween, Running Wild and Rage that have been going strong since the 1980s. Initially signed to Noise' they would become instrumental in the rise of that label and endured multiple line-up changes throughout their tenure all surrounding their frontman vocalist Chris Boltendahl. Starting with Heavy Metal Breakdown (1984) and Witch Hunter (1985) with Albert Eckardt (drums), Peter Masson (guitar), Willi Lackmann (bass) and the aforementionedBoltendahl at the helm. C.F. Brank took over from Lackmann for the release of 1986's War Games. War Games had a bit of history behind it as it happens for under the name Digger, ¾ of the band either split and reformed or simply changed their name to release a one-off titled Stronger Than Ever around that same time with the membership of Boltendahl, Eckardt, Brank, and new guitar player Uwe Lulis.
They are assumed to have broken up thereafter for another album didn't emerge until The Reaper arrived in 1993 under the Grave Digger name with Boltendahl recruiting Lulis with Frank Ullrich (drums) and Tomi Gottlich (bass), and Symphony Of Death EP (1993) with Jörg Michael taking over drums. Best Of The Eighties, their best of came in 1994 with more studio work in the form of Heart Of Darkness arriving in 1995. Tunes Of War (1996) and The Dark Of The Sun EP (1997) saw Stefan Arnold take over from Ullrich. Jens Becker took over fromGottlich for Knights Of The Cross (1998), while H.P. Katzenburg was added on keyboards and Lulis replaced with Manni Schmidt for Excalibur (1999), their live Wacken Festival Tunes Of Wacken (2002) and Rheingold (2003).